Helping students prepare for GCSE and A-level coursework

by Emily

Students in their final year of GCSEs or A-levels will now be looking to begin the coursework component of their exams. While the UK system weighs heavily in favour of structured exams, coursework entries can make up to 25% of the final grade, and a strong performance here can make all the difference to final marks. How can you as a home tutor help your students create their best work?

Although necessary boundaries are in place, coursework offers the opportunity for students to explore and specialise in the areas which interest them most. At the outset discuss with your pupil what they believe these areas to be, and identify a topic that plays to both strengths and interests. Make sure the scope of the selected title is appropriate and realistic given the time-frame and word limits of the project. The best topics tend to be those with a relatively narrow focus, allowing the student to delve deep into a subject and acquire specialist knowledge in one area, rather than spreading themselves too thinly.

Private tutors should work through the criteria with students to make sure that they fully understand what is required of them. A strong appreciation of what an examiner will be looking for early on can help prevent wasted effort and needless research. You should help your pupils draw together a reading list, dividing possible sources into essential reading and those which will help provide background and context to the main thrust of the research.

GCSE and A-level coursework are golden opportunities to help your students develop their own study interests and show off their talents. A well thought out study plan will help them achieve their maximum potential and mitigate pressure when it comes to final exams.